“Dad says you have to get something surgically removed?”
My eyes widen. My brother knows now??
So it’s been a crazy few weeks. When I went in for my physical last week, the Vitamin B-12 and D deficiency was not the only thing that was found. I had a lump. In the best part of my body. I didn’t say anything because Dr. Clarke said it’s fine and nothing to worry about.
But it still kept hurting. Really badly. Like the day before yesterday, my parents were gone all day, and it was just me and my dog. I was sleeping all day because that’s the only thing that keeps the pain away. I woke up to find her, laying on my chest, on top of the lump, right where it hurts. And she looked at me with sad eyes. Like she knew. Something that should not be there, was there.
First, I called Yasmeen. Yasmeen’s mom is a nurse. They said I have to go back to the doctor, even if I already saw her last week and she said it was nothing. So, I called the doctor’s office immediately. They said they would be able to see me the next day (yesterday).
“Back so soon huh Miss Shaz?” Dr. Clarke says smiling.
“Yes Dr. Clarke. I think the lump got bigger” I say.
“Now Shaz. I told you it is possible that may happen. You are going through a lot in your life right now. You are about to move to a whole new city and about to start grad school. That could be causing your hormones to go up an down. Causing this lump. But if you think it has changed, I’d be happy to take a look” she says.
I try not to roll my eyes. “Yes, please”.
She pokes around. “Okay so yes you are right. It is definitely different than what I felt last week”. She takes out a little book that has notes and a ruler attached to it. She does a measurement. “Yup. I would think that is cystic. I’m going to need for you to go get an ultrasound. If it is problematic, you will need to get it out. Now that’s going to be very uncomfortable. And then you will need 4-6 weeks recovery time”.
What? What the fuck? How could she say that all like it’s no big deal???
I try not to cry. “I’m leaving for grad school is a week and a half.”
“Right. I’ll get Stacey to schedule an appointment with the hospital for you” Dr. Clarke says and leaves.
My jaw drops. What? What happened to “you’re moving and starting grad school? it’s probably just hormones?”
I breathe in and out. I hear Nurse Stacey calling different hospitals and spelling my last name. She comes in a few minutes later. “Okay so the soonest I could get you in was next Tuesday. Make sure when you go, you bring someone with you” she says.
“Okay” I say sighing.
I go back to the car where my mom is waiting. I start crying.
“Oh my god what? What is it? Shaz?”
I tell her everything.
“God help us” she says. “How will you go to Boston now?”
“I don’t know” I say sadly.
“Okay. So I called the mattress guy. He says he can give us the twin bed set for $200 or the queen bed set for $250. What do you think we should do?”
My jaw drops. How can my mother still be planning my move? “Mom. I have the lump the size of a marble in my boob/armpit.”
She looks at me. “Okay I know”. We stay quiet through the whole car ride.
When we arrive my dad is in his office, finishing up some work.
“Go” my mom says.
I shake my head. As strong as my dad is, he can’t take news like this. He will act like he can, and then he’ll get sad and keep it all bottled up in side.
“Shaz has the lump a size of a marble. It grew from last week. She needs an ultrasound, the soonest they could get was next week. She has to get it taken out if it’s bad. They will do it right then and there. She will need 4-6 weeks recovery time.”
Yes. Thank you mom.
My dad stays quiet. “Are you serious? They couldn’t get her in sooner? Do they know she is leaving in a week and a half?”
We all stay quiet. And my dog comes and stand next to me. I pet her.
“Yes they do. I don’t know how she can go to Boston if they have to do the procedure” my mom says.
“Oh she won’t be going” my dad says shaking his head.
“What are you talking about? She has to! She has orientation and school” my mom says.
“Um yes. I think her health is much more important than orientation and school. They will understand a medical emergency” my dad says.
I stand in shock. “Or. Maybe. It’s nothing. And they won’t even have to take it out!” I say piping up.
They stay quiet. So I go outside to get some fresh air. How did this happen to me? Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people. Did I mention I have severe anxiety and ADHD?
I hear them talking inside.
“Maybe she shouldn’t go to her dance class today. She should take some rest” my mom says.
“Let her dance! She needs to relax after getting news like this” my dad says.
I laugh to myself. My parents are cute.
“Shaz…Shaz habibti…” I hear my dad calling from inside. Oh god. I know that tone. He wants to talk about something.
“Oh. There you are. I was looking for you” he says with a cigar in his hand. He stands next to me near the lake.
“Don’t be scared. These things happen” he says.
I hide behind him. Crying is a major sign of weakness in his side of the family.
“I just can’t believe it’s happening now” I sniffle.
He laughs. “Welcome to life. The chapters in your book, are not always going to go the way you want them too.” You know I had a lump in my armpit too right? It was right as I was coming to America. I had two small children. I was the CEO of a company. I had to have it surgically removed. I hurt for 6 weeks, and I survived” he says.
I cry some more. “I’m not as strong as you” I say.
He puts his arm around me. “No. You are stronger”.
“Think about the good things. You don’t have anyone to take care of. And we have good insurance. So if something happens, you can stay with us and we will watch you until you feel better. And our insurance will take care of the procedure. There are many people that don’t even have those luxuries” he says. He’s right.
“I requested next week off. I was requesting off anyway to spend time with you before you go. So if you need anything, I’ll be there” he says.
Well that’s nice. He hasn’t really been able to be there when I had serious health issues in the past.
“And if not. We can watch movies all week!” he says. I laugh.
He goes back inside and I call Yasmeen.
“Wallah. This is terrible. We’ll be praying for you” she says.
“If they put a knife or needle in my boob, I ain’t going to school” I say staring out into the lake.
“Oh my god! Stop! Don’t say that. Just hope that it’s good. You had lumps before right?”
“Yea but the doctor would immediately say it’s fine. This is the first time she needs an ultrasound!” I say.
“Okay..well what about cysts? You’ve had a cyst before right? And it went away on it’s own?”
I think back. “Yes. Yes I did. But that one was fine. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as this one” I say.
“Okay. Well 80% of lumps are nothing anyway” she says.
I laugh. She’s right. I go to my dance class. My upper body hurts so much more than usual. I pass out as soon as I get home.
The call from my brother awakes me. “Dad says you have to get something surgically removed?”
“Yes uh well hi to you too” I say. Then I sigh. My brother was always the weaker one of in these situations. He just bought his own place and got a new job. I don’t want to upset him.
“Look it’s fine. It’s most likely nothing. But if it is, they have to take it out” I say.
He seams sad. “I see. Well either way. I know this lump or whatever is pretty uncomfortable for you and mom and dad aren’t coming to help you move in. But I can fly in if you need me” he says. That’s nice of him. I tell him he should. And I go back to sleep.
This morning, I wake up well rested. But aching. I get a phone call from Mr. Photography dude.
“What’s wrong with you?” he asks.
I rub my eyes. “Nothing” I say.
“You know all about the drama with the new executive board right?” he asks.
“Yep” I say.
“Well Yasmeen says I shouldn’t stress you out with it because you have a lot of serious things going on. What does she know that I don’t?”
I feel like he’ll find out anyway. So I tell him.
“Holy shit” he says.
I take out my iPad and look at my snapchat to distract myself. I haven’t been on it lately because of everything going on. I see one of player’s stories. “When you leave yo girl’s house” the caption reads with a 5am filter.
“Oh my god! You’re not gonna believe what player just posted!” I say changing the subject.
“Oh my god Shaz. Stop. He’s probably just messing around. FOCUS. Focus on your issue!” he says.
“Right” I say putting my iPad down.
“When did you meet him anyway?” Mr. Photography dude asks me.
“The first week of school” I say.
He laughs. “I rest my case. You’ll meet someone new the first week in Boston!” he says.
“I might not even be there for the first week” I say.
“No don’t say that!” he says. “Remember what you wrote on your blog last week? About being resilient? Be resilient, woman!”
He’s right. It’s time to be the strongest I have ever been. In this chapter of my book.